A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.
Jack Crabb is 121 years old as the film begins. A collector of oral histories asks him about his past. He recounts being captured and raised by indians, becoming a gunslinger, marrying an indian, watching her killed by General George Armstrong Custer, and becoming a scout for him at Little Big Horn. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Merriweather is forced by the lynch mob to reveal the ingredients of his elixir, he includes oil of cloves. The same was used to alleviate Dustin Hoffman's pain following his torture in Marathon Man (1976). See more »
During the credits at the beginning of the movie, young Jack comes out of hiding and looks at a man's body, with an arrow sticking up out of it. The top of the arrow moves slowly as the "dead" man breathes. See more »
I am, beyond a doubt, the last of the old-timers. My name is Jack Crabb. And I am the sole white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, uh, uh, popularly known as Custer's Last Stand.
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This will always be one of my favorite movies. I love long, episodic plots such as this. The character of Jack Crabb has such dimension and so grows from one incarnation to another, that he is worth watching from beginning to end. This was Dustin Hoffman in his pre-pretentious "I'm such a big star I won't listen to anyone" period and he is an absolute joy because he just plays the character as it should be played. I love that he can be cowardly one moment, confused the next, heroic the next. He goes through phases in his life. Of course, the neatest part of the whole movie is the portrayal of the Indians. They are multi-dimensional and wonderful in their acceptance and joy with their world. Maybe everyone should see this movie to see how these "human beings" have been driven from what they were to what they are now. I have a top ten list of movie moments and on it is the scene where old Lodge Skins goes off to die because it "is a good day." As he lies there a drop of rain hits him in the eye and he decides that "sometimes the magic doesn't work."
The death of Sunshine is also so sad. I visited the Custer Battlefields a few years after seeing the movie, and while the place is interesting historically, I just couldn't look at it in the same way. The narration of the ancient Jack to the overmatched reporter is a delight. I know that this is a novel, not pure history, but Thomas Berger must have known these people and this delicate, beautiful movie is certainly his legacy.
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